When a spring season gets off to a slow start due to rain and cold, any win is a good win. A win over your arch-rival is even better.
East Chapel Hills softball varsity rebounded from an 8-3 loss to Cedar Ridge with an 11-10 victory Thursday over Chapel Hill, keyed by a dramatic two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to clinch the win.
"This was a really good win for the girls," East Chapel Hill coach Joe Simmons said as his team cleared their home field. "This gave a nice little confidence boost."
East (1-1) had seen three previous contests rained out, but Thursdays The non-conference game was played in front of a full bleacher of parents and students, and under unseasonably warm, almost perfect conditions.
Both teams scored six runs early, and stayed within one run of each other until the fifth inning, when a pair of errors allowed Easts infielder Emily Kupec and pitcher Sydney Levine to score for a 9-7 Wildcat lead.
Chapel Hill answered with two runs in the top of the sixth, Kelsey ORegan reached first on a throwing error and was driven on an RBI single by Anna Tompkins. A double into centerfield by Shannon Mumper and a walk for Carey Kaufman loaded the bases with one out, and a line shot by Riley Hutchinson back at the pitcher drove in Tompkins for a 9-9 tie, but Levine got out of the inning with a strikeout and a pop-up to center.
Chapel Hill got its first lead in the top of the seventh and last inning, after ORegan got a walk and then stole second. The catchers attempt to get her at second sailed into the outfield, and ORegan raced home with the go-ahead run.
East got the game-winning runs in the bottom of the seventh off a one-out single by Levine and three consecutive bunts by Kyra Vancil, Jillian Leary and Amanda Fraden.
On the final play, Fradens sacrifice scored Levine from third base, and, as East put-out Fraden at first, Leary rounded third at full speed and beat the throw back to home plate.
"That kid doesnt know how fast she is," Simmons said. "I figured she could take a big jump, and then theyd have to make a big play at the plate to catch her. It worked out for us."
Levine ended up with the win and as one of Easts leading hitters, going 2-for-2 with 2 RBI. Maggie Booterbaugh, one of three East seniors Simmons is counting on this season for leadership, went 3-for-4 at the plate. Addison Agatucci was 2-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI, while Calleigh Reardon also went 2-4.
Shannon Mumper led CHHS (1-2) at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI; Anna Tomkins went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
"This was still a good game for us because of the way we fought back," Chapel Hill coach Kacey Blackmon said. "Weve still got a lot of things to work on in practice, but weve improved a lot."